Why science is not a religion

I’ve seen several articles and opinion pieces about why science is a religion and a belief structure. It is not. That’s bunk! Here’s why.

Science is simply the process of testing ideas to see if they are true or not. It is the search for objective truth. A true scientist does not consider belief as part of the equation. They observe measurable facts, form an idea based on those facts, then test that idea to see if that idea might be correct. They make sure their findings are repeatable and accurate and if they are not the researchers throw it out and try again.

Here’s the important part: if they are proved to be wrong, they form a new idea, or adjust the old one, and try again. A true scientist doesn’t cling to ideas that are false. They don’t say “maybe this could disprove my theory, but I’m going to believe it anyway.” If they did, they would be engaging in religious thinking. Religion is when you believe in something without hard evidence.

The real problem here is people who claim to be scientists, and make all the right noises, and wear labcoats and everything, yet cling to their beliefs and preconceived notions even when they find evidence that disproves their claims. It is that subset of false scientists that gives the whole scientific method a bad name. Luckily, there is a good way to tell a false scientist from a true scientist.

Ask a question.

The true scientist will say “I don’t know for sure but there is evidence pointing to this.”

The false scientist will say “I definitely know, and I will argue with you if you disagree.”

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